Friday, October 5, 2012

Gilby's controversy

It was with great interest that I accessed Facebook on Thursday night, having been alerted by a friend that there was a furore going on at the Facebook site of Gilby’s Restaurant on the East Derwent Highway at Lindisfarne.

What I read there astonished me.

OK, so it’s normal for people to either criticize or compliment a restaurant or café, depending on what sort of time the recipients had at the establishment. That’s acceptable, and to be expected. It has gone on since time immemorial, and will continue long after we are all long gone. (I am imagining a cave-family in olden times, with mum standing over the fire in their cave, bbq-ing dads recently dispatched feral pig for the family meal, then clonking dad over the head with a large bone from said pig after he whinged that she hadn’t cooked it long enough and had broken one of his teeth on it!)

But it was the initial reaction to a comment added to Gilby’s Facebook page which astounded me. Never, in all my years of socializing, fraternizing, working and networking here in Hobart, have I ever seen a response like Gilby’s, from a restaurant owner to a reasonable criticism from a customer.

The first few comments (which eventually totalled 88, at last viewing) read thusly:

Susan Storr said:
“Apparently you can't get water (and I am talking tap water) at Gilby's unless you are drinking alcohol. Yesterday a friend of mine and two other ladies were there for afternoon tea (coffee and cake) and one of the ladies (who incidently has a serious medical condition) required some water. She was grudgingly given a half a small glass of tap water and the other two ladies were NOT offered water. I have never heard of this anywhere else in Australia or New Zealand. Buck up your ideas Gilby's; bad news travels fast!”

Gilby’s replied:
“Hi Susan if you want water stay at home and drink your fill!”

Susan replied with:
“WOW, what a pathetic response to a genuine grievance. Prior to this water incident which was experienced by a friend and not me personally, I had eaten at Gilbys at least 8 times and had recommended the restaurant to many people. Your PR skills are sadly lacking and whoever you are have the intestinal fortitude to put your name to this negative and seemingly unintelligent comment instead of "hiding" under the "umbrella" of the restaurant name.”

……and so it continued on…….
I made a comment on my personal Facebook page, and many of my friends who happened to read Facebook on Thursday evening, took my advice, went to the Gilby’s page, read it, and returned to agree with me in expressing their disgust at Gilby’s response to the criticisms levelled at them. Everyone, on both the Gilby’s page, and my Facebook page, quite definitively stated that, given the response by Gilby’s which they had read with their own eyes (ie, it wasn’t something they read about in The Mercury, secondhand), they would never eat there or recommend it to anyone.

My question: given that Hobart is indeed so small, how could Gilby’s possibly think they can trade their way out of this? How could a business owner in this current economic climate respond to a customer in the way they did, above?

Absolutely, gobsmackingly amazing!

Anyway, it’s all philosophical now, as by yesterday (Friday) morning, Gilby’s Facebook page had been removed, and all evidence of controversy removed for posterity! It's almost like it never happened - except we know it DID!

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